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Clive Named Iowa “River Town of the Year”


Clive, Iowa — Iowa Rivers Revival, a non-profit group that advocates for rivers and streams, has named Clive as 2017 Iowa “River Town of the Year.”

Clive is a western suburb of Des Moines, population about 17,500. Clive is about a mile wide and eight or nine miles long, with a major stream – Walnut Creek – running through the center of much of the community.

“Walnut Creek is a defining element of the community,” said Molly Hanson, Executive Director of Iowa Rivers Revival. “Like other Iowa river cities we have recognized – from Dubuque to Council Bluffs, Charles City to Clinton – Clive is celebrating its past, present and future with Walnut Creek.

“From its beginning, in the 1950s and ‘60s, Clive recognized that the Walnut Creek greenbelt had great potential for recreation, parks, green space, and natural beauty.  Greenbelt Park was established early on and became the dominant feature running through the middle of Clive,” Hanson said.

“Today, the Greenbelt’s bike trail and walkways, parks and playgrounds are highly popular and well-used by Clive residents and visitors.

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“But Clive still has an eye on the future – and on Walnut Creek itself, its waters and streambanks, not just on the Greenbelt and flood plain beside the Creek,” Hanson said.

Robin Fortney of Iowa Rivers Revival said Clive earned the River Town of the Year especially for its efforts to:

  • Stabilize streambanks of Walnut Creek using state-of-the-art “bio-engineering” techniques instead of leaving steep, erodible banks, or “hard-armoring” banks with concrete “rip-rap.”[Click here for streambank stabilization Before and After photos.]
  • Adopt a watershed-wide approach and planning with all its neighbor communities.
  • Acquire more floodplain acres to ensure adequate stream buffers and flood flow capacities.
  • Invest $80 million in public and private funds over 25 years in a Greenbelt Master Plan, more than half for environmental enhancements.
  • Protect drinking water for 500,000 people – the Des Moines Water Works intake valve is located just a mile downstream from where Walnut Creek flows into the Raccoon River, not far below Clive.
  • Lead the way in organizing technical training for communities on stream restoration strategies.
  • Collaborate with resident volunteers who formed Green and Sustainable Clive to remove invasive species, plant trees, and clean up the Creek.

“Clive is leading the way in focusing on water quality as well as water quantity and flooding — on the Creek itself as well as the Greenbelt where it runs,” Fortney said. “In short, Clive is doing river restoration we think is so important in Iowa,” she said.

“We are very pleased to recognize Clive as Iowa River Town of the Year.”

Iowa Rivers Revival is presenting the “River Town of the Year” award at a reception Monday morning at the Clive Aquatic Center, 1801 NW 114th St. Mayor Scott Cirksena and Community Development Director Doug Ollendike and other leaders are accepting the award on behalf of Clive.  (Public reception at 10 a.m., program at 10:30, tour of Walnut Creek river restoration sites at 11 a.m.)

Iowa Rivers Revival was founded ten years ago to be a voice for rivers.  IRR is committed to helping Iowans work on education and public policy to restore and protect Iowa’s rivers and streams.

IRR’s “River Town of the Year” award celebrates vibrant river communities across Iowa that are reclaiming riverfronts as anchors for recreation, economic development, ecological practices, and good water quality, and celebrating Iowa’s beauty and natural resources.

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